Thursday, June 9, 2016

If I Were Mayor Of Greensboro: Part 14

Have you read the rest of If I Were Mayor Of Greensboro? I recommend you do and follow the links back to here before proceeding. 

I know, in If I Were Mayor Of Greensboro: Part 13 I promised to talk about healthcare and reducing the cost of doing business in Greensboro but I think you need to have some fun and I know how to do it. We'll discuss healthcare and reducing the cost of doing business in Part 15.

Everybody loves basketball...

Really? If one were to look around Greensboro one might think so, home to the Atlantic Coast Conference, Tournament Town, our current mayor the daughter of the former head of the ACC, basketball courts in every park and recreation center in town, the constant UNC-Duke rivalry that is never ending...

But sadly enough all this emphasis on basketball and sports in general hasn't managed to curb the destructive nature of our children. Could it be basketball isn't the answer?

Well to be perfectly honest, basketball and sports are part of the answer but not all of the answer. You see, not every kid fits that mold.

When I was eleven I was given the choice of a ball or a hammer for my birthday. I picked the hammer because I could build things with a hammer. Building then and now was and is my greatest passion. That's why I'm running for Mayor of Greensboro-- to build the greatest city we can ever have.

But it wasn't like there weren't sports I didn't like, no sir.

I liked racing not only because drivers got to compete and go fast but back in the old days when I was growing up, drivers still played a huge roll in the building of their own race cars.

Cities all over the Southland managed to prosper because of racing. Industries grew up around it. Fortunes were made. One only needs to look to Charlotte to see what racing can bring. But just as racing was starting to boom,Greensboro tore down our only race track in 1958 to build the white elephant known as the Greensboro Coliseum.

The skills needed to build modern race cars are much the same skills necessary to build airplanes and do those aviation jobs the City of Greensboro continues to invest in every year through incentives and advertising give-aways, but Greensboro's kids aren't learning these skills until after they're out of school because there's no racing going on here-- nothing to attract and keep their interest.

Add to that the interest in many other trades that can be sparked through training in the industrial arts provided you capture minds while they are still young and not afraid to dirty their hands. And folks, our schools simply don't teach it anymore.

Our current crop of politicians and community leaders can only be described as dumb as a mud fence and twice as dirty. And they've been that way since 1958.

But we can't build a NASCAR or Indy Car track in Greensboro. Besides the fact that we can't possibly afford such a thing there's no guarantee any major or minor racing league would grant us a date to race.

Keep that in mind while I duck into the pits.

We need a sport that teaches valuable skills, discipline and includes boys and girls of all ages as well as as many adults as we can bring in to participate with them. And it needs to be cheap and accessible to all.

Ever heard of gravity racers?

The most commonly known forms of gravity racers are Pinewood Derby and Soapbox Derby cars. Problem is: Pinewood Derby cars are too small to see the corporate sponsors a city could easily attract (I have one willing corporate sponsor already) and Soapbox Derby cars cost too much to build.

But GPVs are cheap to build!

Of course not every kid has the skills or the tools to build their own GPVs even from old bicycles so I'm proposing our recreation centers add industrial arts to the lists of things they do there. After all, a kid who learns how to build an aerodynamic faring and attach it to a bicycle has a lot better chance at success than any kid Mike Barber teaches to play golf through First Tee of the Triad and Gillespie Park Golf Course.

The kid who can figure out how to go 1 mile per hour faster than everyone else in a quarter mile downhill race can figure out how to build the rocket that will fly men and women to Mars.

Kids could compete in neighborhood events year after year, divided by age. We could even have adult competitions. GPVs would be improved, altered, sold and resold. And like the young man in the video who produced so many fairings a cottage industry might spring up around it. I can already tell you there's a science to it that is far different from racing anything with an engine.

Having neighborhood events makes it easier for families to participate. Then we can hold the finals downtown letting the entire city get in on the action.

No, it will never be NASCAR but it teaches valuable job skills, involves entire families, is lots of fun and keeps kids out of trouble doing things they love. And it's inexpensive enough it could be done on a regular basis just like Saturday night stock car racing used to be done on the old Greensboro Fairgrounds so long ago.

Please come back to read If I Were Mayor Of Greensboro: Part 15 where I really will discuss healthcare and reducing the cost of doing business in Greensboro.